Monday, September 19, 2022

Our Cedar Table

Gorgeous! Incredible! We are blown away by what our son-in-love, Zach Davy, created for us through his business Sunshine Cedar Company.

The furniture is Amish handcrafted to the finest detail and it's made from locally sourced cedar.

The richness of the color and live edges give the table character and beauty that make you want to just look at it. It is so amazing that such beauty was hidden inside a tree. I love how God cares about details and gives beauty even in places one would never know about unless you did further inspection.

Greg and I were very sad when we realized our big round table was too big for our new dining room. God blessed us with so many divine appointments and memories that it was hard to let it go. We cherished the memories around it. It was our hospitality platform and hard to imagine anything better.

Until a conversation happened around making a table that was a part of Zach's story. What better way than to use one of his cedars for our table! It is just one more way of his family and our family becoming one.
I am being a little obnoxious in saying to the kids that I look forward to grandbabies filling up the whole bench! 

In the meantime, we cannot wait until you come and sit at our one of kind Nebraska raised cedar table. 

Your presence is requested to start our new table memories! 
Reach out to zach@sunshinecedarco.com if you'd be interested in a quote for custom built cedar furniture.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Why put blood on the right ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe in the consecration?

Sometimes reading the Levitical law can seem daunting. Okay, maybe all of it is unnerving. This morning as I read about Moses consecrating Aaron and how he put the blood of the sacrifice on Aaron's right ear lobe, right thumb, and right toe suddenly this all made sense to me.

First, we need to know that the right hand represented the favored one. So to be on the right is favor. Whenever the right hand is referenced about the LORD it represented the strong arm of the LORD. When we ponder both of these we begin to understand why culturally the right hand respresented cleanliness or purity. What good is favor and strength if it is not done from purity? This is probably why the right hand was never used for doing unclean tasks. It was meant to be set apart. Essentially, we need to know that the right is used to symbolize favor and strength that is pure. 

The ear was marked by the blood sacrifice because we need to listen to God. If we are not tuned to Him then we can not be set apart. The whole point of consecration is to be set apart. Different. Holy. To be an instrument of God so that we can honor Him as we listen and obey.

The thumb was marked because our thumb is the appendage that makes us uniquely different than any other creature. Our thumb allows us to create, build, grasp; well, do fine motor skills that would be hard to do other wise. Our ability to create is one thing that illustrates that we are created in the image of God. 

We are also told in Scripture that God gives the Holy Spirit to the craftsman or artisan so they can create. We are inspired by created things to worship. This reminds us that we are called to not just create, build, work or serve,  but to worship as we do. But our worship should be in the One who gave us that thumb so that we can create as HE created to inspire others to worship Him alone!  Worship should never be in the object or the one who created the object. 

The right toe was covered with the blood sacrifice as a reminder to us that we are called to go. Our feet are what help us go so we can create, build, work, serve and worship. But, consider this also, our big toe is what gives us balance. Without it we cannot balance our person. 

Could it have been a physical reminder to keep things in balance as we go create, build, serve, and worship?  

Could it be it was placed on the big toe so that we must remember in all things that if we truly are set apart it should be done as an act of worship? 

I also wonder if it was done on the ear, thumb, and toe because this covers the entire person. True consecration must be whole hearted. All of you!  There is no room to say to the hand or toe that we will not do as we hear from the LORD. All three must work in a spirit of oneness.

As for the blood sacrifice, this is a symbolic pointer toward the final sacrifice that would be shed in Jesus. He is the One who died for our sins and covered us so that we may be consecrated or set apart for the kingdom of God. Because of Jesus, blood sacrifices are no longer needed because HE was God's favored one, who sat at His right hand that lived a holy and pure life. 

When I was younger reading Leviticus seemed tedious, but now that I know how to ask good questions and assimilate truths with the rest of the Word of God I see such depth and I find it affirming. 

May His favor, strength, and sacrifice be upon your right ear lobe, right thumb, and right big toe so that you are keenly aware that if you have believed in the LORD Jesus then you are set apart to create, build, serve and worship with your whole being. Amen!

Monday, September 12, 2022

What type of leader does God honor?


What type of leadership does God honor? Sometimes, it is helpful to see the contrast in a unique way.

Selfishness, disobedience, anarchy, and perversion prevailed during the time of judges. The nation of Israel was nearing the end of 400 years of the nation living by "doing what is right in their own eyes".

Judges were deliverers sent to remind, rescue, and redeem the nation during a crisis. It was during this time that we hear of a young Moabite widow named Ruth. Keep in mind that to an Israelite a Moabite was cursed by God because they attacked Israel in her wanderings. They were basically viewed as an enemy of the people of God. Yet, Ruth's loyalty and kindness stands in stark contrast to what has occurred in the last 400 years in the nation.

God has a plan and His plan is to redeem His people. His plan will prevail even if He must use a young foreign woman to illustrate the depth of His redeeming love.

It is during this time the story of Ruth rises to remind us of the type of leader God will honor.

As I reflected on two truths David Guzik said about Ruth's leadership, "Character before conduct and responsibility before results," I started pondering basic truths that must come before leadership is known. Notice that all begin with what is happening on the inside before outward results occurred.

We do not know how long Mahlon and Kilion were married to Orpah and Ruth, but we do know that the family lived in Moab for ten years. Ten years they were able to show what was on the inside. Ten years for Ruth to watch and observe. Now in the moment of great grief and decision Ruth reveals what happened on the inside. The truth of her depth is revealed and her story stands judge over the nations prevailing attitude of "doing what is right in their own eyes."

The more I pondered my list started growing. Some are truths we see in Ruth. Some are truths that support what we observe in her. All are truths we must grow in.

Seek to find
Knock to open
Build foundation before reformation
Build formation before transformation
Willingness leads to opportunities
Dig roots before bear fruit
Build character before conduct
Walk in faithfulness before fruitfulness
Live responsibily before we see results
Grow in depth before breadth
Be before doing
Build the invisible before visible
Live in closet prayers before public influence

How might these character qualities influence our nation today as it faces its own "do what is right in your own eyes" attitude?
 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Commanded Rest


Do you enjoy a certain type of ritual that helps you restore? I was just reading about how God gave the command in the Old Testament that after war those that killed or touched blood were to go for seven days outside the camp to be cleansed. They were to clean their weapons and leather. The thought occurred to me, I get it that they needed to protect each other from the possible contamination, but I recognized something more. In a way, it was commanded rest.

Seven days to debrief what just happened. 

Seven days to do routine activities like cleaning tools and clothes. 

Seven days of discussing with those around you what happened. 

Seven days to lament. 

Seven days to celebrate. 

Seven days to refrain from the daily grind at home and work. 

Seven days to debrief in the mind, body, soul, and spirit.

Commanded rest. It helped them get spiritually pure. 

Doesn't spiritual purity happen when we have taken the time to let our mind, body, soul, and spirit catch up with what just happened? 

The quiet rest and routine gives room for repentance, restoration, refreshment.

I recognize that the text is showing how we are to be pure before God. I also love that the practice of stepping away helps us get there. 

So, I ask again. What ritual(s) do you do that gives you time to get spiritually pure before God? When this one thing is right all the rest fall into place.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

What if..? Moses asked God

Do you ever struggle with "What if" syndrome? What if the car breaks down? What if I don't get it done in time? What if they make fun of me? What if they don't like me? What if I am not good enough? What if they dont believe me? What if it can't be fixed? What if..?

As I read Moses' conversation with God at the burning bush this morning, I noticed he said, "What if they don't believe me or listen to me?" Oh I knew he said it but it hit me hard this morning. 

Moses revealed alot in his "what if" statement. Fear! You heard me! The fear of man in particular. Even worse, he was giving more power to man not believing or listening than to God telling him that HE was sending him and would help him.

I love how in their conversation God revealed to Moses that He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present God. He reminded Moses that He was the Father of his father, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

As if that wasn't enough God gave him mini miracles for Him to interact with so that he could experience before hand what HE would do through Moses before Pharaoh. 

Do you see how God revealed His character and person to Moses?

Why? 

When we know and understand the character of God, how HE is bigger than creation because HE created it, we find our "what ifs" seem insignificant when we trust and obey. 

Moses went so far as to ask God to send someone else. This caused God's anger to burn, but God gave him a concession for a moment, but in the end Moses did exactly as God asked.

This gives me hope that my "what if" moments don't sideline me. They do give me opportunity to grow and know the LORD more. They become faith steps.

Father, please forgive me of my "what ifs". Help me to let go of my fear of man and help me to know You are bigger than what man says. Help me to let go of not being good enough and trust that You will give me the Words to speak. Help me to let go and just get up and go. Thank you that You are all present, all knowing and all powerful. Thank you that I can trust You to help, provide, and make a way. Help me to honor Your calling in me and through me. In Jesus name amen

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Seeing God in an Ordinary Routine

Sometimes when I drive a familiar route I go into mental autopilot and have no clue what is happening. It is terrifying to think of how unobservant I can be when doing a routine activity. I think knowing this about myself causes me concern not just on the physical danger level, but on the spiritual as well. 

As I read about Moses watching over Jethro's flocks I realize Moses was doing his routine activity. There is nothing extraordinary about watching flocks in a field. Yet, he was observant. He noticed something unusual... a burning bush that was not consumed. So he walked over to check it out. This moment of curiosity allowed him to have a conversation with God and receive a holy game plan to rescue the nation and help them to move into their promised land.

I want to be so observant! Now, don't think that I believe that in my ordinary that God plans on using me to change our nation. I do not have grandiose expectations. But I do believe that God can and will meet me in the ordinary to show Himself to me.

Because God is always the same I can trust that He will reveal His presence, His Name, His purpose, His history, His destiny, His plan, and His outcomes to me in my circumstances.

So, I find myself asking, "Are you seeing God? Are you looking for Him? Do you listen to Him? What is He revealing to you? How might the ordinary become extraordinary simply because I am willing to pause, be curious, ask, listen, and obey?

Father, help me to guard against being on auto pilot. Help me to be observant even in the ordinary so that I can be with You and how You are at work around me. In Jesus name amen

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Four Courageous Women in Moses' Birth

I love the beauty of courage and creativity. It causes me to pause and notice. In the birth of Moses, we see the beauty and creativity of four women.

Moses' mom hides him until he is strong enough to be away from her for a bit. She then puts tar on the bottom of a papyrus basket so he could float down the Nile when Pharaoh said throw the baby boys into the Nile. She did but she waited a bit and did it in a basket where Pharaoh's own daughter walked. She made sure she did everything she could to ensure her "fine" son would survive. Her reward was that she would be paid to nurse her own son.

Miriam which is only called Mose's sister couldn't let her baby brother just go into the water without someone watching. When she saw Pharaoh's daughter had compassion, she came out of the reeds from her secret hiding place and offered to bring a nurse. She took a risk. It worked. She was able to watch her baby brother grow into a toddler.

Pharaoh's daughter saw something unusual and sent a slave to check it out. Even though her dad said throw the Hebrew boys into the Nile River. He feared one of them would become a leader that would over take him someday. She had compassion and offered to pay the woman to nurse the baby. That woman was his very own mother. And she became a mother to a "fine" son. The word "fine" meant that everything about the baby was healthy, strong, and beautiful. 
The slave girl is the one who opened the basket. Whether it was her that had compassion or Pharaoh's daughter who had compassion it overflowed. A crying babe is a crying babe. The nationality is not important. The babe was in need.

These four women were willing to be courageous when others just did blind obedience to a ruthless law that killed. 

May we be so courageous! Amen

Video of the story: 
Moses' Birth